MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Saint John’s opened its 2013-14 wrestling season by placing six in the top five at the annual Augsburg Open on Saturday, Nov. 23, in Minneapolis.
All six recorded 3-1 records on the day.
Senior Ryan Arne (Orono, Minn.), the seventh-ranked wrestler at 157 pounds and a returning national entrant, finished second. He started the tournament with a pin and technical fall before defeating Zak Benitz of Division II Upper Iowa by a 6-3 decision in the semifinals. Arne fell to Augsburg’s Will Keeter, who is ranked second nationally at 149 pounds, by a 6-3 score in the title bout.
Sophomore Ben Henle (Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer) stole the show for SJU, however, with two wins over nationally-ranked opponents on the day. He started the tourney with an upset of the top-ranked wrestler in NCAA Division III, Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Nathaniel Behnke, by an 8-7 score at 141 pounds. He tallied a 9-3 decision over Upper Iowa’s Duane Richardson before posting a lopsided 18-8 major decision over sixth-ranked Tom Kuehn of Augsburg in the semifinals. Henle, who posted a 12-7 record as a freshman for SJU last season, fell to Upper Iowa’s Jordan Roths by a 7-4 decision in the championship match.
Senior Joe Hessing (Loretto, Minn./Delano) went 3-1 at 149 pounds, his first matches since the 2011-12 season, to take third. He tallied two pins on the day, including a fall in the third-place match.
Sophomore Josh Willaert (Le Sueur, Minn./Le Sueur-Henderson) bumped up a weight class and claimed fifth at 197 pounds. He started the day with a technical fall but lost his quarterfinal match by fall to Upper Iowa’s Carl Broghammer, who led all of Division II with 20 pins last season. Willaert bounced back with a pin and an 8-6 decision over Eau Claire’s Luke Ortscheid to take fifth.
Freshman Branden Schorr (Mantorville, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville) opened his collegiate career with an impressive 3-1 record and a third-place finish at 149 pounds in the silver bracket. His lone loss was a 6-4 decision to Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Evan Caldon. Schorr ended the day with a 45-second pin over Briar Cliff’s (Iowa) Jacob Spadoni.
Senior Aaron Brasket (Independence, Minn./Delano) pinned his first opponent at 174 pounds of the silver bracket but lost in the quarterfinals, 8-1. He retaliated with two decisions to take fifth.
A pair of NCAA-tournament participants from last year, senior John Scepaniak (Avon, Minn./Holdingford) and junior Ryan Michaelis (Monticello, Minn.), did not compete.
The Johnnies return to action with a dual at Division II St. Cloud State at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at Halenbeck Hall in St. Cloud.
St. John’s results:
125 – Matt Hickerson (0-2), Alex Rod (0-2), John Wells (2-2)
133 – Mike Pleski (0-2)
141 – Evan Guffey (1-2), Ben Henle (Second, 3-1), Alex Peck (0-2), Dalton Sowers (2-1)
149 – Joe Hessing (Third, 3-1), Aaron Padrnos (1-2)
157 – Ryan Arne (Second, 3-1)
165 – Ochirbat Bayanjargal (1-2), Brandon Seppelt (1-2)
174 – Teddy Erickson (1-2), Devin Nanik (0-2)
197 – Rob Tait (1-2), Josh Willaert (Fifth, 3-1)
285 – Matt Kadrlik (0-2)
125 – Ben Kollaja (0-2)
141 – Tyler Isaacson (1-2), Andy Poster (2-1)
149 – Jake Hickerson (1-2), Branden Schorr (Third, 3-1)
174 – Aaron Brasket (Fifth, 3-1)
157 – Brian McCann (2-2)